Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thoughts after winter rain
Our rain gauge indicates that we have received about 3-3/4 inches of rain. For a while on Thursday morning, the Mississippi River appeared to be passing through our back yard. The water was running about a foot deep. Fortunately, we live on a little hill. Things are returning to normal, though. In the early afternoon, the clouds parted to let the sun shine on us. Atlanta’s chief source of water, Lake Lanier, is reported to have risen almost a foot, but the drought around here is a long way from being over.
On Thursday, it reached sixty degrees. This morning it was twenty-seven. The phrase “global warming” seems to be falling out of favor and people now speak of “climate change” instead. Maybe they have a point. The climate does seem to be changing. This week it snowed in Houston, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana.
That photo is not Houston or New Orleans. My blogger friend Jeannelle of Iowa (not to be confused with Eleanor of Aquitaine, mother of Richard the Lion-hearted) was the photographer and she gave me permission to post it here. Jeannelle and her husband live on a dairy farm a few miles from the little town of Readlyn, Iowa, home of “857 friendly people and one old grump,” according to the sign at the edge of town. That isn’t Readlyn in the photo either. According to Jeannelle, “Between our farm and Readlyn is a teeny-weeny town called Klinger. A general store is there, surrounded by a cluster of eight houses and assorted sheds, and a very smelly hog barn.” Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Klinger, Iowa, population about 12.
I’ll bet the “very smelly hog barn” in Klinger can’t hold a candle to where I lived fifty years ago. After my Dad and I moved away from the town I grew up in, he married my stepmother and we lived on Denton Tap Road in the northwest corner of Dallas County, Texas, between the village of Coppell, population 600, and the town of Lewisville, which was not much bigger. Across what was then just a two-lane, country road, like the one in the photo, there was a farm with several hundred hogs owned by a medical doctor who was on the Dallas County Board of Health. He was not held in high regard locally. All the money he spent building concrete wallows for his hogs and paying people to hose them down daily didn’t help at all. That farm stunk up the entire neighborhood. In fact, every morning when my stepbrother Eddie opened his eyes and smelled the stench, he promptly threw up.
But even that hog farm paled in comparison to what is absolutely the worst smell my nose has ever encountered, a turkey farm between Coppell and the small town of Grapevine. Passing that turkey farm every weekend on my drive home from college really opened up the old nostrils. Today the entire area is covered with affluent suburbanites in their mansions. Living over turkey and hog poop. If they only knew.
I really don’t know why my thoughts should go from rain to snow to the smells of yesteryear to urban sprawl, but I have a theory. Daily assaults on one’s olfactory system during one’s youth can permanently damage one’s brain. So be careful, little nose, what you smell.
I do not have a photo of Coppell to show you, but here’s another one of Klinger: